Last we heard, Steven Soderbergh was clearing his final batch of products, preparing his exit from the world of movie directing to take up painting, a pastime he has quietly but studiously pursued for quite some time. Well, retirement is still in the cards but it might just have to wait as his film projects may keep him busier a little longer than expected.
In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Damon reveals that the long-gestating "Liberace" with Michael Douglas is now aiming to shoot in 2012 instead of this summer as previously scheduled. "This ‘Liberace’ script is just wonderful. Michael’s going to be just phenomenal in that part. We’re shooting that in 2012," Damon said. There are a couple likely reasons for the shift. Firstly, Soderbergh is still shooting "Contagion" and despite his reputation for working insanely fast, with an October release date looming he's likely going to be very busy getting the film through post-production to focus on directing something else. Also, Damon recently signed on to star in Neill Blomkamp's mysterious, big budget sci-fi pic "Elysium" which is gearing up to shoot this summer. Regardless, Damon reveals that Soderbergh is adamant about retiring, once again reiterating that the director is simply bored with filmmaking. And while Damon -- like us -- will miss the helmer's skill behind the camera, he adds that Soderbergh's talents are at the level where he now shoots and cuts at a phenomenal pace.
“He has the most varied body of work of anybody I can think of. He’s at this point where we could shoot during the day, and him being the cinematographer and the director, we’d go home, have an hour or two off, and then meet him back at the hotel bar in Chicago. They’d have a back room where he’d sit, have some pretzels and a drink and he’d take a look at the day’s work. Scott Burns, the writer, Greg Jacobs, his first-AD, and me, we’d show up, get a drink and hang out with him. Steven would have his headphones on, sitting at his laptop. And in about 20 minutes he’d cut together the day’s work. ‘OK,’ he’d say, pull his headphones off and turn the computer around and show us, right there, what we’d shot that day and how it would look on the big screen when the movie comes out. THAT FAST. He’s a FREAK," Damon says about his work with the director on "Contagion."
“When we did ‘Ocean’s Twelve,’ we did a wrap party at a bowling alley. I went up to him and said, ‘Hey Steven, thanks. Great time working with you. Thanks. How do you think the movie’s going to be?’ And he say, ‘You wanna SEE it?’ He’d finished cutting it and had it on a laptop. Right there, he shows me the movie!’ (LAUGHS)" Pretty amazing stuff.
But Soderbergh isn't the only director Damon is stumping for, as he (not so surprisingly) thinks that his best bud Ben Affleck deserved some Oscar love for "The Town" saying, “Don’t get me started, but he did such a great job writing and directing that, and acting in it. At least some acknowledgement for the screenplay. And there are ten best picture nominees, It wasn’t one of the ten best? I think so."
So, how will the cards play out for Soderbergh? He's got both "Haywire" and "Contagion" arriving in theaters this year, and then "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." and "Liberace" left to shoot before he puts down the camera and picks up a paintbrush. No word yet on the order of his last two films, but we'd guess that George Clooney's availability -- who he wants to star in the former -- will probably play a determining factor.